Policy, Advocacy and Partnerships

With your support, we advance gender justice by advocating for policy and systemic change, building awareness, and engaging the public in taking action. We rally our community to sign advocacy letters to government representatives and take part in campaigns throughout the year. The Foundation also contributes to high-level government policy discussions and provides critical insight about gender equity to media outlets.

Want to Take Action Right Now?

Join our growing community of Signal for Help Responders, and help change the culture of stigma around gender-based violence to one of safety and support.

Together, we’re making an impact

have signed up to be Signal for Help Responders
Online advocacy letters sent to decision-makers by people like you
Media mentions during our 2021 – 2022 fiscal year

Together, we’re advocating for gender justice

Advocacy Initiatives

We launch engagement initiatives and reports that highlight the intersectional impacts of gender injustice, and make recommendations for how to address them.

The risk of gender-based violence has increased during the pandemic, and the necessary safety restrictions have made it harder for those in abusive situations to reach out for help. In response, the Foundation has launched the Signal for Help, a silent hand signal that can be used in a video call without leaving a digital trace. But it’s also critical that as many people as possible know how to respond and support someone who gives the Signal.

That’s why the Canadian Women’s Foundation created the Signal for Help Responder’s Action Guide. This tool helps loved ones, friends, coworkers, and neighbours recognize abuse, and helps them respond with supportive, stigma-free conversations.

Download the Action Guide

Resetting Normal: Building Gender Equality in the Pandemic Recovery is a series of reports released in 2020-2021 on gender equality and the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. The series explores risks to human rights exposed by the pandemic and advocates for new ways to build a gender-equal Canada in pandemic recovery efforts.

When communities are under stress–from crises or disasters like pandemics, floods, wildfires or economic downturns, gender-based violence rates tend to increase. The Shockproofing Communities project emerged out of the belief that this pattern is preventable if the right conditions are put in place. Learn more

National Surveys

Through national surveys, we find out where people in Canada stand on issues of gender justice and use this data to raise public awareness and advocate for systemic change.

AT THIS STAGE OF THE PANDEMIC, SURVEY SUGGESTS CIRCUMSTANCES NOT IMPROVING FOR CAREGIVERS” (May 2022): Mothers’ health and careers continue to be disproportionately impacted

TWO THIRDS OF PARENTS ARE CONCERNED THEIR CHILDREN HAVE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES TO BUILD VITAL HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP SKILLS (August 2021): Canadian Women’s Foundation flags skills gaps during the pandemic and responds by supporting critical community programming as students head back to school.

ALMOST HALF OF MOTHERS IN CANADA ARE “REACHING THEIR BREAKING POINT” (May 2021): New data reveals that mothers in Canada are struggling under the brunt of the day-to-day decision-making and care for their children and families, including shouldering worry for their family’s mental and physical health. This has led to mothers carrying greater feelings of anxiety, isolation, anger, and sadness than fathers, with nearly half (46 per cent) saying they are reaching their breaking point.

ALMOST A QUARTER OF PEOPLE IN CANADA FEEL GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IS “NONE OF MY BUSINESS” (March 2022): New survey also shows gap between desire to end violence and ability to support victims

FEW ARE WELL-PREPARED TO SUPPORT SOMEONE FACING GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE (November 2021): Canadian Women’s Foundation flags low public confidence in knowing what to say and do, but texting SIGNAL to 540-540 will help people feel more prepared.

SURVEY FINDS DROP IN CANADIANS’ UNDERSTANDING OF CONSENT: A 2018 study from the Canadian Women’s Foundation has found that Canadians’ understanding of consent decreased over the last three years, with only 28 per cent of Canadians fully understanding what it means to give consent, compared with 33 per cent in 2015.

Until All of Us Have Made It: Gender Equality and Access in Our Own Words
March 2020

This report highlights how gender-based inequalities play out differently for different segments of the population. It is based on an opinion survey the Foundation commissioned in early 2020.

Policy Briefs

Our policy team regularly submits briefs and recommendations to government, bringing an intersectional gender lens to decision-making processes.

Criminalizing Coercive Control: Unintended Consequences and Alternative Approaches

Brief for the Standing Committee on Justice & Human Rights (JUST) on its review of Bill S-224: An act to amend Criminal Code (trafficking in persons) 

Brief for the Standing Committee on the Status of Women (FEWO) for its study on the Human Trafficking of Women, Girls, and Gender Diverse People

Inputs on Violence Against Women in the Context of Climate Crisis – Submission to the Office of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, March 2022

Presentation to the Standing Committee on Status of Women (FEWO) Study on Intimate Partner & Domestic Violence in Canada, February 11, 2022

Canadian Women’s Foundation Submission in Advance of the 2021 Federal Budget

Submission for consultation on handguns and assault weapons, November 18, 2018

Bill C-78: An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act, November 16, 2018

Submission for consultations in advance of the 2019 Budget

Gun Control and Violence Prevention, May, 2018

National Housing Strategy: A Rights-Based Approach to Women and Housing, May, 2018

Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, May 2019

Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights

Brief to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, October 2016.


There is strength in collective action, so the Foundation partners with various organizations on projects that promote gender justice, inclusion and decolonization.

Gender Equality Network Canada

In 2017, Status of Women Canada selected the Canadian Women’s Foundation to convene, facilitate and oversee the Gender Equality Network Canada. Over three years, this Network of about 150 women leaders from across the country created an action plan to advance gender equality in Canada.
Learn more and read the Discussion Document for a Pan-Canadian Strategy to Advance Gender Equality.

Affordable child care is essential to achieving gender equality. That’s why we’ve joined organizations endorsing Child Care Now’s smart and sensible Affordable Child Care for All Plan. It’s the road map Canada needs to universal, quality child care. For women, access to quality, inclusive, affordable child care increases access to employment and enhances economic security. Child care can help move women out of violence and poverty and into security and independence. The Plan focuses on building a system with affordable parent fees, public expansion, and a skilled workforce delivering quality care. Learn more about Child Care Now and the Affordable Child Care for All Plan.

We are a member of Up For Debate, a national alliance of organizations dedicated to women’s rights and gender equality. Up For Debate calls on all federal political party leaders to participate in a national debate on women’s rights and gender equality. The alliance is also urging federal party leaders to make real commitments to end poverty, end gender-based violence, and support women’s rights and equality-seeking organizations. Learn more about Up For Debate.

In 2017, the RBC Foundation brought Canadian Women’s Foundation, Catalyst Canada, Plan International Canada, and YWCA Canada together to explore common interests. The In Good Company (IGC) collaborative project emerged from these discussions. The project aims to reduce the barriers women and gender diverse people face in workplace advancement, testing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) solutions that are practical and actionable while positively impacting the DEI field in Canada. Learn more.

After the #MeToo Movement went viral, the Canadian Women’s Foundation partnered with Aftermetoo, a national movement to activate change on sexual violence in Canada, to address the increased demand on sexual violence support services across Canada.

In 2019, the Foundation also collaborated with Aftermetoo and Aboriginal Peoples Television Network to address workplace sexual harassment through tools, resources, and training for federally regulated employees and employers — all housed in a one-stop online platform called Rosa. The project, called Roadmap to Future Workplaces, is supported in part by the Government of Canada.

Launched in 2019, the Black Innovation Fellowship aims to address key barriers Black entrepreneurs face while getting new businesses off the ground. The Canadian Women’s Foundation is a founding partner of the Fellowship, which is run by Toronto Metropolitan University’s DMZ startup accelerator.

This is a first-in-Canada program that provides startups led by Black entrepreneurs with:

  • Startup network support and additional programming
  • Access to Black mentors and experts
  • Access to events, industry, capital and alumni networks
  • Access to affordable housing and meeting spaces

The Foundation is proud to be supporting women entrepreneurs through the Fellowship, and providing leadership and personal development training. More information and how to apply to the Black Innovation Fellowship.

The Landsberg Award is an annual award presented by The Canadian Journalism Foundation in association with the Canadian Women’s Foundation. It celebrates a journalist who is raising awareness about women’s equality issues in Canada and aims to inspire an increase in the media coverage and voice of women in Canada.

The award is named after Michele Landsberg—award-winning Canadian journalist, author, social activist, and feminist—to acknowledge the tremendous impact that she has had as an advocate and role model for all women in Canada. We hope the award will inspire relentless, fearless journalists to consider Canadian news from a women’s equality perspective.

Learn more about The Landsberg Award.

2023 Award
Journalists Molly Hayes, Tavia Grant and Elizabeth Renzetti won for their work on a Globe and Mail series on intimate partner violence, which spotlighted coercive control. They also asked survivors what Canada should do to address intimate partner violence. Renzetti and Grant are past Landsberg Award winners.

Image shows Landsberg Award-winning journalists Molly Hayes, Tavia Grant, and Elizabeth Renzetti

2022 Award
Freelance journalist Christina Frangou won for stories revealing discrimination in Canada’s medical and legal systems that were featured in various magazines:
Christina Frangou, 2022 Landsberg Award Winner

2021 Award
Toronto Star journalists Alyshah Hasham and Wendy Gillis won for their work on several submissions:
2021 Landsberg Award Winner Wendy Gillis2021 Landsberg Award Winner Alyshah Hasham

2020 Award

Columnist and feature writer Elizabeth Renzetti won for her writing in the Globe & Mail on various gender-related topics:
Violent misogyny is a threat to half our population. We need to call it what it is: Terrorism
Why has Canada had so few female first ministers?
Even in space, women can’t escape the flaws of biased design

Journalist Elizabeth Renzetti

2019 Award

Journalist Connie Walker received the 2019 Landsberg Award for CBC News: Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo.

Connie Walker wins the 2019 Landsberg Award, co-presented by the Canadian Women's Foundation